how to make a shipping container into a house

by:WELLCAMP, WELLCAMP prefab house, WELLCAMP container house     2024-05-17


Shipping containers have become increasingly popular as a sustainable, affordable, and innovative solution for housing. With their robust structure and portability, these large metal boxes can be transformed into comfortable and stylish homes. Whether you are looking to build a compact living space or a spacious family home, converting a shipping container into a house can offer endless possibilities. In this article, we will explore the various steps and considerations involved in making a shipping container into a practical and beautiful abode.

Choosing the Right Container

The first step in this exciting journey is to select the perfect shipping container for your house project. Shipping containers come in different sizes, typically ranging from 20 to 40 feet in length. Consider the number of occupants and the available space on your property when deciding on the container size. Also, inspect the container for any signs of corrosion, dents, or structural damages before making a purchase. Remember that it's crucial to find a container in good condition to ensure the structural integrity of your future home.

Once you have identified a suitable container, you have the choice between new or used containers. New containers offer a clean slate, with minimal wear and tear and a longer lifespan. On the other hand, used containers are more affordable and can lend character to your design with their weathered appearance. Make sure to verify that used containers aren't compromised structurally before moving forward.

Design and Layout Considerations

Designing the layout of your container house is an exciting and crucial step. With a bit of planning, you can create a functional and comfortable living space that maximizes every inch of the container's interior. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Space Optimization: One of the biggest challenges when working with a shipping container is its narrow width. To make the most of the available space, consider an open floor plan where multiple areas can serve different purposes. For instance, your kitchen counter can also double as a dining table.

2. Lighting and Ventilation: As containers have limited windows, it's essential to plan for sufficient natural light and proper ventilation. Strategically place windows and skylights to brighten up the living areas and create a sense of spaciousness.

3. Insulation: Shipping containers are made of steel, which can be prone to extreme temperatures. Proper insulation is vital to regulate the internal climate and ensure comfort year-round. You can choose between foam insulation, fiberglass, or spray foam, depending on your budget and requirements.

4. Utilities and Plumbing: Consider the placement of electrical outlets, water connections, and plumbing when designing the layout. Plan the location of your kitchen and bathroom carefully to optimize the use of the available space and minimize plumbing costs.

5. Furniture and Storage: Since shipping containers have limited space, it is essential to choose furniture and storage solutions that make the most of the available area. Look for multipurpose furniture and utilize vertical space with shelves and built-in storage units.

Building Process

Once you have finalized the design and layout of your container house, it's time to bring your vision to life. Here is a step-by-step guide to the building process:

1. Site Preparation: Start by preparing the site where you plan to place your container house. Ensure the ground is leveled and stable, as the container's weight needs a solid foundation. Clear any obstacles, such as rocks or vegetation, and consider obtaining necessary permits and approvals before starting the construction.

2. Foundation: Create a foundation to support your container. You can choose between various options, including concrete footings, piers, or a concrete slab. The foundation will provide stability and prevent moisture from seeping into the container.

3. Cutting and Framing: Once the container is securely placed on the foundation, mark the areas where you intend to cut openings for doors, windows, and any other desired architectural elements. After careful measurements and planning, use a cutting tool suitable for metal, such as a plasma cutter or angle grinder, to create the openings. Consider reinforcing the edges with additional steel beams to maintain structural integrity.

4. Installation: After cutting the necessary openings, it's time to install windows, doors, and insulation. Choose energy-efficient windows and doors that fit seamlessly into the container openings. Attach insulation to the interior walls, ceiling, and floor to regulate the temperature and reduce energy consumption.

5. Interior Finishes: Once the structure is complete, focus on the interior finishes to create a comfortable living space. Install drywall, flooring, and ceiling finishes according to your desired aesthetic. Choose materials that are practical, durable, and suitable for the interior space of a container house.

6. Plumbing and Electrical: Call in professionals to handle the installation of plumbing and electrical systems. This ensures that everything is safely and properly connected, minimizing the risk of future issues. Cooperate with the experts to design the most efficient layout for your needs.

7. Exterior Finishes: Complete the exterior finishes to weatherproof your container house. Apply an appropriate weather-resistant paint or coating to protect the container from corrosion caused by external elements such as rain and sun. Additionally, consider incorporating sustainable strategies such as installing solar panels or a green roof to make your house eco-friendly.

8. Final Touches: The final touches transform your container into a cozy home. Furnish the space with carefully selected furniture, paying attention to scale and maximizing functionality. Add personal touches with decor and artwork that reflect your style and personality. Consider the exterior landscaping to enhance your container house's curb appeal.


Transforming a shipping container into a house is an innovative and affordable way to create a unique living space. From considering the right container and designing the layout to the building process and final touches, there are numerous factors to consider. With proper planning, resources, and creative thinking, you can turn a simple shipping container into a comfortable and stylish home that aligns with your lifestyle and values. So, start exploring the possibilities and unleash your creativity to embark on a fulfilling container house project.

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